Working With Children Policy
The Working with Children Check (WWCC) aims to assist in protecting children from sexual or physical harm. It is designed to complement good selection, supervision and training practices (including rigorous reference checking). The WWCC is a minimum checking standard set by the Working with Children Act 2005 for those who work with children, either on a paid or voluntary basis.
The intent of this policy is to outline which positions at Glen Waverley South Primary School require a WWCC and the process to be followed. This policy applies to all positions at Glen Waverley South Primary School other than teaching positions, including volunteer, honorary, consultant and contractor positions. Any reference to ‘candidates’ also extends to staff currently occupying a position.
On 1 August 2017, a series of changes were introduced to the Victorian Working with Children Check (WWCC) scheme through the Working with Children Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) (the Amending Act). These changes are intended to further strengthen the scheme by implementing recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commission).
Under the Working with Children Act 2005, only people who are doing “child-related work” need a WWCC unless an exemption applies.
Under the amendments, “child-related work” involves contact with a child that is direct and a part of the person’s duties; and is an activity undertaken in any of the services, bodies or places referred to in the Act as ‘occupational categories’ (which include schools).
The biggest change is that while volunteers were not previously required to have to get a WWCC if they were directly supervised, under the new legislation they now will need to have a WWCC regardless of whether they are being directly supervised. The definition 'direct contact' has been expanded to include oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact.
There are still a number of exemptions, however the impact for school volunteers is limited. Teachers, police officers, and immediate family members of the child involved in an activity are not required to obtain a WWCC.
Child: a person who is under the age of 18 years.
Student: any child who is enrolled at the school.
The Working with Children Check
The WWCC verifies a person’s history to make sure they do not have any relevant criminal offences or findings from professional disciplinary bodies. The WWCC is valid for 5 years (unless revoked). During this time the cardholder continues to be checked for new relevant offences or findings. The WWCC is free of charge for volunteers, but cannot be used for paid employment. WWCC’s for paid employment can be used to show suitability for volunteer work. The WWC check is administered by the Department of Justice.
At Glen Waverley South Primary School, a WWCC is required for any person, volunteer or paid, who engages with students in any school related/approved activity.
The Application Process
The candidate must complete an online Working with Children Check application via the Department of Justice website http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/. Under the section marked ‘Details of Organisation’, candidates should ensure they state Glen Waverley South Primary School. If the applicant passes the check they will be sent a successful Assessment Notice, followed by a WWCC card 2-3 weeks later. Further information about the application process is available on the Department of Justice webpage.
If the applicant does not pass the check they will be given an Interim Negative Notice. The applicant can then make a submission to the Department of Justice to explain why they believe they should pass. If this submission is not successful the applicant will be issued with a Negative Notice. This means they have failed the WWCC and cannot undertake ‘child-related work’ or work in the school.
Commencement at Glen Waverley South Primary School is conditional upon possession of a successful Assessment Notice or WWCC card. Any queries should be directed to the Principal.
Candidates who are required to undergo a WWCC as a condition of working or volunteering at Glen Waverley South Primary School will not receive reimbursement for any costs associated with the WWCC.
Glen Waverley South Primary School will assess and verify the suitability of staff and volunteers who will work with children.
Police Records Check
A police records check gives information about a person’s past criminal record and is only valid at the time of issue. Glen Waverley South Primary School may require a criminal record check in addition to a WWCC. The WWCC is valid for 5 years (unless revoked). During this time, cardholders continue to be checked for new relevant offences or disciplinary findings from professional bodies such as the Victorian Institute of Teaching. In addition, not all criminal offences are relevant to the WWCC. Broadly, the WWCC considers serious sexual and violent drug offences. A staff member or volunteer is required to undertake a WWCC even if they have already completed a police records check.
It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that only suitable and eligible persons are employed in the school. To maintain high standards of conduct and professionalism in our school, Glen Waverley South Primary School will ensure that the Department’s procedures for criminal record checks are implemented.
The School will:
- identify all staff who require a Working with Children Check. This applies to all non-teaching staff as all teaching staff must have a current Victorian Institute of Teaching registration.
- ensure existing staff and volunteers are informed of the requirement to undergo the check.
- ensure prospective staff and volunteers have a WWC check before commencement at the school.
- monitor, assess and verify the suitability of staff and volunteers who will work with children.
Administration staff will:
- check each person’s card validity on the Department of Justice webpage.
- keep a photocopy of each WWCC card and keep the details (name, card number, expiry date) updated on the school’s WWCC registers.
- ensure suitable monitoring procedures are in place to ensure volunteers and staff members hold a valid WWCC card at all times.
- monitor the sign in process through the Quick pin app which verifies the currency of WWCC.
The staff member or volunteer will:
- provide the successful WWCC card prior to commencement at Glen Waverley South Primary School;
- notify the office if there has been a relevant change in circumstances, for example, if they have been charged or found guilty of a new relevant offence;
- apply for a new WWCC before their card expires.
The Working with Children Act identifies categories of individuals who are exempted from the requirement to have a WWCC. Glen Waverley South Primary School reserves the right to nevertheless require a WWCC if the principal considers it necessary in the circumstances.
The exempt categories are:
- Student volunteers - A student who is 18 or 19 years of age is exempt from the WWCC for volunteer work organised by the educational institution they attend
- Teachers with Victorian Institute of Teaching permission to teach
- Police Officers
Community Open Days
The community who have been invited to ‘open days’ or ‘welcome days’ as visitors of the school are not required to have WWCC cards. This is because people within the community who have been invited to ‘open days’ or ‘welcome days’ are unlikely to be regarded as engaging in “child-related work”. WWCC cards are only legally required for visitors who engage in child-related work, which requires that the work involves direct contact with a child and is a part of the visitor’s duties. Therefore, most visitors will generally not require a WWCC.
- All staff who require a WWCC card will have a hard copy of their card on their personnel file and the details (name, card number and expiry date) recorded electronically in the Human Resources/Staff training folder on U-drive.
- Volunteers will have a hard copy of their WWCC card kept in a central WWCC folder, filed in the administration filing cabinet. The electronic register of these details (name, card number and expiry date) will be saved to the administration network.
- Excursion/Incursion staff will have a hard copy of their WWCC card filed with the event documentation.
- Contractors will have a hard copy of their WWCC card filed in the Contractor folders in the BM office and expiry date recorded on Contractor register.
Related policies AND RESOURCES
- Visitor’s Policy
- Volunteers’ Policy
- Child Safety Policy
- Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic).
- Working with Children Amendment Act 2016 (Vic)
- Department of Justice website http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au
This policy was last ratified by School Council on 27/07/2020 and will be reviewed as part of the school’s three-year review cycle.